MILLWALL boss Neil Harris revealed Tom Bradshaw got a standing ovation in the dressing room after scoring his first goal for the club in Tuesday night’s 2-1 EFL Cup first-round win at West Brom.
Bradshaw equalised from Jiri Skalak’s cross after Charlie Austin had given the hosts the lead, and Aiden O’Brien’s second-half tap-in completed the comeback.
Bradshaw was Millwall’s record signing when he joined from Barnsley in the summer of 2018, but then sustained cruciate ligament damage in a game against Brentford in November and missed the rest of the season.
It was his first goal in competitive football in over a year.
“I’ll let you into a little secret,” Harris said. “I don’t always single out individual players, but Jiri Skalak got a mention because of his rise and progress in a Millwall shirt.
“But Tom Bradshaw got a standing ovation from the staff and the players, myself included. It’s not just his first goal for the club, as a centre-forward that’s so important, it’s his first goal for the club since the injury he sustained, which is key.
“He’s still not match fit, he’s still not 100 per cent fit and as sharp as he will be, but he’s a tremendous finisher. He can score goals for this club.
“I’m not going to put him under huge pressure, but that was special for him and for me as the manager that signed him, and his team-mates. His application, desire, dedication, commitment, all of that, his professionalism, to come back from the injury he had in the manner he did is a lesson to any professional footballer or young lad in the game.”
Millwall drew 1-1 here in the league last Saturday, and Harris made eight changes for this fixture.
Harris added: “I was really pleased with Saturday, coming here in a cauldron of an atmosphere and Slav’s [Slaven Bilic] first home game, to come from behind and put in the performance we did was really pleasing. Then to go one better tonight.
“I’ve got to be honest, at 1-0 down after 15 minutes we weren’t playing well and West Brom looked sharp as anything and really fluid. I was fearing the worst and then again the group just dug it out, put a passage of play together and got a chance. We grew into the game.
“For 30 minutes in the first half we looked like the team that had spent all the money, that was playing at home and dominating possession. It was really exciting to see.
“Second half was a bit scrappy but set-plays are important in this game. When you’ve got two goal scorers on the pitch, and Jon Dadi [Bodvarsson] to be fair as well, but when you’ve got Tom Bradshaw and Aiden O’Brien around the six-yard box that’s dangerous for the opposition.”